Is Google Required To Carry Anyone's Advertising? French Regulators Seem To Think So
from the huh? dept
We’ve seen a series of similar claims from companies related to the entirely bogus concept of “search neutrality,” which seems to suggest that search engines have some sort of moral requirement to include links or ads from certain companies even if the search engines don’t believe those links or ads add any value to its users. And, now, it appears, French regulators are agreeing with that nonsensical result. Apparently, a French GPS company named Navx complained to the government that Google had stopped including its ads, and French regulators have sided with Navx over Google.
The regulators seem to think that Google is somehow required to help Navx’s business:
“Google’s practices have suddenly and significantly affected Navx’s income, but also and essentially its growth potential,” it said as it granted Navx’s request for interim measures.
Well, gee, Google doesn’t display Techdirt as the top result for stuff we write about. That seems to significantly affect our income as well as our growth potential. But you don’t see us running to the government to force Google to do so.
The key part of the complaint appears to be that Google’s algorithm and policies are not publicly available, but again it’s not clear why it needs to be. I actually do agree that Google’s policies probably should be a lot more open and transparent, but that doesn’t mean the government should force them to be. Instead, if anything, this actually seems like a potential opening for a competitor to come in and hit Google. I’ve always felt that certain aspects of Google’s closed nature are an achilles heel for the company that no one has yet exploited.
Just because Google made a business decision to keep that information closed, and one company relied too much on Google for its business model, doesn’t mean that a government should step in and force Google to change how it does business.